The author of Brooklyn will be championing the benefits of higher education within his new role
Novelist Colm Tóibín has been appointed chancellor of University of Liverpool.
The author, who won the 2009 Costa novel of the year with Brooklyn, accepted the role because of the part universities play promoting ideas and connections, which, he said. mattered now more than ever.
The 62-year-old Irish writer will act as an international ambassador for the institution, explaining he was attracted to the position because of the close relationship between Liverpool and Dublin going back hundreds of years.
"The ways in which divisions are occurring in Europe mean we must insist that the life of the mind – reading, studying and thinking – remains free, remains something that connects us,” said Tóibín. He added: “I think in the next few years the connections that universities make will be important and I hope to be involved in that and to use all my energy to help in any way."
Announcing the appointment, the vice-chancellor, Prof Janet Beer, said: “Colm is a distinguished writer and public speaker who can connect with a wide global audience. He will not only be an excellent role model for our students, but will help us achieve our vision to be a connected, global university at the forefront of knowledge leadership.”
Tóibín previously succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester, and is a visiting professor at several US colleges, including Princeton and Stanford.
He is currently a professor of humanities at Columbia University in New York.
A graduate of University College Dublin, Tóibín acknowledged his debt to universities. "As a writer and as a citizen, I have greatly benefited from my own time in higher education, and believe that those of us who have experienced the privilege of education should do our best to make sure that others have the same chance," he said.